Richard Taylor guilty of the first degree arson murders of his mother and stepfather in Dundas, Ontario.
A jury in Hamilton has found Richard Taylor guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the arson deaths of his mother, Carla Rutherford, and stepfather Alan Rutherford after their home in Dundas, Ont. , was burned down in 2018.
Now 46, Taylor was a 42-year-old teacher when he was indicted in 2019, accused of setting the fire as a way to secure an inheritance that would solve his financial problems.
The Rutherfords were sleeping in the early hours of July 9, 2018, when a fire engulfed the house Taylor had lived in as a child.
After two days of deliberation, after several weeks of a trial that saw Taylor testify on her own behalf, the jury delivered its decision on Friday afternoon. The trial began in mid-May and the jury began deliberating on Wednesday.
Taylor had pleaded not guilty to both counts of first degree murder. He received the longest sentence for first-degree murder: life in prison, without the possibility of parole for at least 25 years, to be served concurrently.
Taylor ‘should never see the light of day’: judge
Taylor sat with his back to the court as the verdict and victim impact statements were read.
“How could you do this to your loving mother and Alan Rutherford, who showed you nothing but kindness and kindness, is beyond my imagination and beyond the imagination of the jury,” the judge told her. Ontario Superior Court, Toni Skarica, before announcing his sentence.
“You are a monster. You should never see the light of day again.”
Taylor received the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for at least 25 years, to be served concurrently.
The victim impact statements were read by Alan’s oldest and youngest daughters.
He was a real person, not just a picture in the newspaper or on a monitor. And that’s what I lost. I lost my father.– Allison Plato, daughter of Alan Rutherford
Allison Plato, the eldest daughter, told the court she was the first to arrive at the hospital after hearing what had happened to her father.
“I will never forget the image of him lying there and being told I couldn’t touch him, his body was proof,” Plato said through tears.
“No one should have to say goodbye to their parents while the police are watching,” Amelia Ryan told the court.
“It was the most traumatic day of my life.”
Daddy died ‘never being kissed goodbye’
When his daughters were finally allowed into the room to see him, Alan was in a medically induced coma, so there was no chance of talking to him when he was alert, Ryan said.
“Hearing the doctors say there was nothing to do but keep him comfortable was devastating.”
Plato said: “We wanted to talk to him, we wanted to tell him everything would be fine. It was only later that we learned the extent of his injuries.
“He died around 3 p.m. on July 9 without ever being kissed goodbye.
“What I would most like to convey to you is that he was real,” Plato added.
“When you hugged him, he was warm and solid. He smelled like warm musk. His hands were rough. His mustache was tickling and he had holes in his teeth.
“He was a real person, not just a picture in the newspaper or on a monitor. And that’s what I lost. I lost my father.”
Ryan said she had to wait four years “to hear the details of what happened the night of the fire in order to protect the integrity of the case, and she couldn’t be closed”.
“Hearing that your father is a hero is not very comforting to know that someone could do something like that on purpose,” Ryan said, referring to the trial hearing that his father had acted heroically in trying. to save his wife’s life. “Having heard it all now, I feel so sad and angry that they died for such a selfish and twisted reason.
“Mostly, I’m devastated that my unborn child and all future children will never have my dad as a grandfather.”
Taylor had the opportunity to speak but chose not to.
Taylor lied for years about money issues, trial heard
The married father of two was living in Oakville, Ont., and teaching at an elementary school in Hamilton at the time of his arrest.
During closing arguments in court on Monday, Crown Attorney Janet Booy painted a portrait of a man who had spent years lying to those closest to him about the extent of his financial hardship, claiming Taylor had plotted to kill the Rutherfords in order to obtain more than $400,000 in inheritance. a last ditch effort to end his debt and spare his pride.
Defense lawyer Jennifer Penman argued Taylor was a ‘financial disaster’ and lied about it, he had enough money to pay off his debts but was in no rush and loved his family too much to commit the crime.
The jury rejected that defense on Friday.
The fire at the Rutherfords’ one-storey house on Greening Court broke out around 3.30am ET.
Booy previously testified in court that Taylor sneaked into the house using a spare key before going to the master bedroom, poured kerosene around the bed the Rutherfords were sleeping in, and put it down. ignited from the door with a match. He then ran out of the house, according to the lawyer.
Flames engulfed the room and the door, forcing Alan to escape through the bedroom window, Booy said.
Although most of his body was burned, the 63-year-old attempted to enter the house in an attempt to save his wife and two dogs, the court heard. He managed to save a dog.
“He is the hero of this tragedy,” Booy said.
After Alan escaped again, he approached his neighbors and told them he had tried to save Carla but she was still inside – and he blamed the fire on his son-in-law, the jury was told.
“Alan is literally on the verge of death…he knows he’s going to die and his last breath tells you who did it. He tells you, ‘It’s Rich.’ Those are powerful words,” Booy said.
On Friday, Skarica told Taylor that Alan “was brave enough and strong enough to go by the neighbors door and tell all of us in his dying breath that you were the one who murdered him, him and your mother.
“And if he hadn’t done that, in my opinion, if you withdrew his dying statement, you would have been off the hook.”
Firefighters got Carla out of the house, but the 64-year-old died on the way to hospital.